In the Red for Mowing a Meadow

A retired North Devon farmer has been fined by HM Revenue and Customs officials for using red diesel while he was mowing playing fields.

John Thorne has been cutting the Hartland playing fields for free for about a year.

But he's been using his tractor which is filled with red diesel which should only be used for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Three customs officals pounced last week and gave him an instant £250 fine.

The action has caused outrage amongst locals.  And Torridge and West MP Geoffrey Cox has written to both the Treasury Minister David Gauke MP and HM Revenue and Customs calling for the fine to be revoked.

The National Farmers Union is also warning farmers not to carry out similar acts of charity if it puts them at odds with the law.